Your company’s brand is more than a memorable name or attractive logo design. To build a brand is to communicate a business’ story and ethos, to build its reputation, and to solidify its position in the marketplace. In essence, if it distinguishes you from other companies, it’s part of your brand.
To rebrand a business is to take it in a new direction. It’s about going to the core of what you stand for, consolidating your aims and vision, and then modifying your image to reflect these changes.
You may decide to rebrand if:
- Your overarching vision has changed
- You have recently experienced a PR disaster and need to improve your reputation
- You want or need to appeal to a new demographic
- Your business has changed hands, and new members of senior management agree that it’s time for the business to go in a new direction
- You have merged with another company
- Rebranding a business is different from a refresh, which refers to the process of changing superficial visual elements such as the design of a company website, stationery, and logos.
The Process Of Rebranding
So, what does rebranding look like? Let’s break it down into steps.
Step 1 – Introspection
Self-awareness is key to successful rebranding. You need to know the answers to these questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- What do you want to be known for?
- Why do you want to rebrand at this particular moment in time?
- Before you invest a lot of time and money into rebranding, you need to know what the end result should look like and be able to pin down your brand’s story.
You should consider whether you need to hire an external consultant or marketing firm to help you. If you are a large business or feel overwhelmed by the process, then rebranding will be a huge task. On the other hand, if you are a SME who knows exactly what changes you want to make, you could go it alone.
Step 2 – Market Research
Get back in touch with your customers. Does your current image fit their wants and needs? Do you want to keep the same customers, or reach out to new people? Can you categorise your audience into groups and, in doing so, create buyer personas?
Ask your existing customers and members of your target demographic for their input on your brand story, products, and existing reputation. You can use surveys or focus groups to solicit their opinions. This information will help you align your new brand with your intended audience.
Step 3 – Decide What Makes You Unique
Decide what makes you unique, and think about how you can use your USPs as a focal point of the rebranding process. For instance, do you pride yourself on selling only high-end products, or are you keen to market yourself as budget friendly?
Remember, you shouldn’t try to appeal to everyone. Your job is to focus on finding your niche and servicing their needs.
Distil your identity down to a few keywords. What do you do better than your competitors? You may need to undertake further research here if you don’t already know the market inside out.
Step 4 – List & Redesign Your Brand Touchpoints
Make a list of all your material that needs rebranding. This includes flyers, websites, business cards, signs, blogs, and posters. Every time you experiment with a new design, ask yourself whether it fits with your broader brand strategy.
Think about your brand touchpoints – any point at which a customer or potential customer interacts with your business. For example, if you run a beauty salon, the reception desk is a touchpoint. You may need to redecorate your office or store (if applicable) to fit with your new brand.
The below diagram from Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler (who was interviewed for the Logo Geek Podcast) will be a useful reference.
Step 5 – Make Sure Everyone’s On Board
A rebrand will flop if your employees aren’t convinced that it aligns with your business values and strategy. Get their feedback at all stages of the design process.
Before you take your new brand to the public, give them the opportunity to tell you what they think. You can set up an anonymous comment box if you think it will encourage them to share their thoughts.
When the rebranding is complete, have an internal launch party. Get your employees excited about the change, and they are more likely to become brand ambassadors. If you have started to offer new products and services as part of your rebrand, or you want employees to take a new approach to customer service, ensure they have been appropriately trained.
Step 6 – Take Your New Brand Public
Make your public launch quick and decisive. Do not try to phase in changes gradually, because this will only confuse your customers. It should be implemented within a few days.
Use your rebrand as a means of generating publicity and engaging with customers. For example, if you have a mailing list, send them a few teaser emails in the run-up to the launch, hinting at the changes to come.
Let them know the reason for your rebrand – most people do not like arbitrary change, and will be more inclined to trust you if you are transparent. Emphasise how and why the rebrand will benefit them.
Step 7 – Get Feedback
The work doesn’t stop when you unleash your new brand. Get some feedback from your target audience, and analyse your business performance to assess the impact of rebranding on your bottom line. You can do this informally, by asking customers in person, or you can use online surveys and focus groups.
Rebranding can be a huge undertaking, but also marks a fresh, exciting phase in the life of your business. Done right, it will excite and re-engage your customers or leave you in a strong position to attract a new audience.